7 Experts – 7 Opinions: What is the highlight of Java 13?
Java 13 is here! In the first part of our interview series, we talk to some of the experts about all the pros and cons of Java. Michael Simons, Tim Riemer, Michael Vitz, Sandra Parsick, Christian Schneider, Tim Zöller, and Hendrik Ebbers weigh in on the highlights of the current Java version. What JEPs and new features caught their eye?
Although Java 13 is not a huge release in terms of new features, it comes with some upgrades and feature previews that are impressive.
Java 13 proves that 13 isn’t an unlucky number. Just like Java 12, it arrived right on time, adhering to the new release schedule.
Due to the faster release cadence, (every six months) this means that developers can postpone upgrading to the newest release until the next Long-Term Support (LTS) version.
Our Java experts
With several projects underway such as Valhalla, Amber, and Skara, Java 13 introduces five Java Enhancement Proposals: JEP 350 (Dynamic CDS Archives), JEP 351 (ZGC: Uncommit Unused Memory), JEP 353 (Reimplement the Legacy Socket API), JEP 354 (Switch Expressions – Preview), and JEP 355 (Text Blocks – Preview).
Take a deep dive into all of the new features in this article by Falk Sippach. Sippach writes:
The goal is to finalize the preview features by the next LTS version so that they are stable enough and will look good for the next three years. In September 2021, Java 17 will take over the legacy of Java 8 and 11.
We spoke to some of the Java experts about the new features, their hopes for the next version, and how they feel about the new release cycle.
They discussed some of the pros and cons regarding the Java platform and the state of the JDK.
Let’s see what Michael Simons, Tim Riemer, Michael Vitz, Sandra Parsick, Christian Schneider, Tim Zoller, and Hendrik Ebbers have to say about the highlights.
Which new stood out to them the most?
7 experts speak: These features are their highlights in Java 13
Michael Simons: Text Blocks (JEP355), even if it’s a preview.
Tim Riemer: There aren’t that many included features in the new Java release, this is why my highlights are rather both of the new preview features “Switch Expressions” and “Text Blocks”. Text Blocks, meaning Multiline Strings, are a feature that is already known from other JVM languages, and that is now, at least as a preview, included in Java 13.
Michael Vitz: To be honest, for me there just isn’t this one, big highlight around this time. Of course, the new Text Blocks (JEP 355) are interesting and come in handy for several things. Yet, it is also a preview feature in its first iteration, and, above all, the management of the leading whitespace via insertion is still feeling weird at times.
Furthermore, the improvement of the Switch Expressions (JEP 354) shows that the idea of these preview features is working, and that they are reacting to the community’s feedback. All things considered, Java 13 is a solid release and shows me that there is progress.
Sandra Parsick: My highlights in Java 13 are the preview of text blocks and the new changes in switch expression (also a preview).
Christian Schneider: Java 13 does not bring much that I really need. The most interesting feature is JEP 351 – “Uncommit Unused Memory”. As run our system in the cloud this can make a big difference at runtime.
On the language side, my last highlight was the more concise switch expression in Java 12. This was really overdue for a long time. The traditional switch is really bloated and so easy to do mistakes because of the need to use “break”. Unfortunately, this feature is still on the preview level.
Tim Zöller: Although it is just a preview feature, the introduction of multiline String Literals is my favorite in this release.
I experimented a bit with that in a SQL-heavy application, and the readability profiteers enormously by it. But the addition of Switch Expressions is also going to make the developers’ daily routine easier.
Hendrik Ebbers: I think that Text Blocks (JEP 355) is the new feature that will have the most impact in code bases since code with large String will become much better readable.
Stay tuned for the next part of our interview where the experts give their opinion regarding the new, more frequent Java release cadence.